Broadband light – A transformative anti-aging treatment for the 21st century

Frequently asked questions:

How much downtime do I need?

Broadband light treatment is performed at our San Diego offices with no downtime.

How many treatments will I need?

Subsequent treatments are based on your clinician’s recommendation. To obtain desired results, no less than 3 treatments spaced approximately 4 weeks apart should be scheduled.

A personalized plan will be created for your specific needs in order to give you the best overall results. This plan could include but is not limited to: multiple treatments, combination treatments and/or treatments combined with products.

How do I prepare for BBL?

Please avoid using any cosmetic products (i.e. makeup, moisturizers, lotions, etc.) the day of the procedure.

Please avoid direct sun exposure, tanning beds, and tanning lotions/sprays for 2 weeks prior to procedure. Any exposure to these can increase the risk of burning due to the higher than expected light absorption.

Please discontinue the use of retinol products and skin brighteners (i.e. hydroquinone and non-hydroquinone products) 24 hours prior to procedure.

**If retinol is a new product in your nightly skincare regimen, please discontinue the use of it 3 days prior.

Please discontinue any photosensitive antibiotics/medications 2 weeks prior to procedure (these include but are not limited to tetracycline, doxycycline, Cipro).

This procedure does not have downtime, however, pigment will appear darker for approximately 5-7 days before it starts to flake away. Be sure to schedule plans accordingly.

What conditions can be treated with BBL?

  • Pigmented lesions (e.g., freckles, age spots)
  • Vascular lesions (e.g., small blood vessels, broken capillaries)
  • Skin laxity
  • Uneven skin texture

What should I expect day of my broadband light procedure?

Upon arrival at our San Diego location, you will be brought back to the laser room. Pre-procedure photos will be taken, a consent for the procedure will need to be signed, and confirmation of pre-procedure instructions will be discussed. If pre-procedure instructions have not been met, the treatment may need to be rescheduled.

The procedure is then performed. The Zimmer may be used during treatment for comfort measures. The Zimmer assists in cooling the skin during and post procedure.

What should I expect upon completion of the BBL?

Your pigmented lesions will appear darker and will continue to get darker over 24-48 hours following the treatment.

Your skin may appear red, slightly swollen and have a mild sunburn sensation. This is a normal reaction. It can last from a few hours to a few days after treatment.

Sunscreen with at least 7% zinc oxide is applied to the treated areas at the end of the treatment.

How do I take care of my skin following the BBL?

Until sensitivity has completely subsided, avoid all of the following:

  • Use of scented lotions or soaps, exfoliant creams (Retin-A, glycolic/salicylic and alpha-hydroxy acids), acne creams/gels, Clarisonic, loofa sponges and aggressive scrubbing
  • Hot or cold water – wash with tepid water
  • Shaving
  • Swimming pools and spas with multiple chemicals/chlorine
  • Activities that cause excessive perspiration

*Cold compresses or ice packs may also be used to provide comfort if the treated area feels warm. This is typically only needed within the first 12 hours post treatment.

*Vitamin E and aloe vera applied to the treatment area may provide a soothing effect. Post treatment discomfort is typically minimal, but if there is discomfort, oral pain relievers; i.e. Extra Strength Tylenol or Advil may be used.

*Freckles and sunspots may turn slightly darker initially but will flake off within 7-14 days and should be allowed to come off naturally. This is a desired normal reaction. DO NOT PICK, RUB, OR FORCE OFF ANY SKIN DURING THE HEALING PROCESS. THIS COULD RESULT IN SCARRING AND HYPER/HYPOPIGMENTATION!

*Makeup may be applied immediately after the treatment as long as skin integrity has not been compromised.

*Strictly avoid any sun exposure to the treated area for a minimum of 7 days after the procedure. The treated area is more prone to sunburn and pigmentation changes.

*Keep the area covered and use a sun block with a protection factor of 30+ and at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Reapply every 2 hours. Delayed blistering secondary to sun exposure has been noted up to 72 hours post treatment.

*If in the middle of a series of phototherapy treatments, sun exposure should be avoided between treatments and a sun block should be used on a daily basis.

How long will it take to recover?

This is a noninvasive procedure with virtually no downtime. In most cases, you are able to return to work, apply makeup, and resume most activities immediately. It is important to remember that not everyone heals at the same speed and it would not be unusual if the healing process were to take longer.

You may resume your normal skin care regimen typically 24-48 hours after your procedure.

When should I expect results?

Most patients notice an improvement in pigmentation and redness within 7-14 days once the skin heals. However, for optimal results a minimum of 3 treatments spread approximately 4 weeks apart is still recommended.


In the unusual case of crusting of the skin in the treated area, apply an antibiotic ointment twice a day to the affected areas. Do not pick at these affected areas, as this may result in infection or scarring.

If the skin is broken or a blister appears, apply an antibiotic ointment and contact the office immediately. Keep the affected area moist and avoid direct sunlight.


Patient response can vary after a BBL treatment. Mild erythema (redness) and possibly mild edema (swelling) along with darkened pigment are desired responses within a few minutes after the completion of the procedure. The length of healing time can vary from patient to patient.

How do I maintain my results?

For maintenance and to achieve optimal results, recommended products should accompany these treatments. These products include: growth factors, retinol, melanin suppressor, and sun block with at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium oxide.

*Growth factors: Proteins that stimulate collagen and elastin to help restore thickness and resilience to the skin over time.

*Retinol: Speeds up the skin’s natural exfoliation process, therefore evening out discoloration, boosting collagen, and preventing thinning of skin, fine lines and wrinkles.

*Melanin suppressor: Evens skin color and tone by suppressing melanin production.

*Sun block: Prevents premature aging by protecting against both UVA and UVB rays.

Before & After

Dr. Karam, who is board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and American Board of Otolaryngology, offers services in San Diego County including San Diego, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Carmel Valley, Encinitas, Rancho Bernardo and La Jolla in Southern California.

If you are ready to schedule an appointment with Dr. Karam, contact us today.

(858) 259-3223 Contact Us

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